'I'm sure it hurts that we just don't seem to get your wry observations on life and love.' Photo: Joe Armao
DEAR Brian McFadden,
What can I say? You've done it again, haven't you? Let your emotions get the better of you. And, boy oh boy, didn't your 230,000-plus followers get more than they bargained for on Friday when you tweeted that the women who ''made excuses'' and stayed with their abusive partners were just as pathetic as the guys.
How were we to know that your tweet was simply a frustrated, misguided expression of your inner-most turmoil? ''It's just one of my friends is in that situation,'' you tweeted in your ''apology'' on Saturday, ''and it made me angry.''
The women in your life certainly know how to press your buttons, don't they, Brian? My goodness, didn't the feathers fly during your bitter twitter exchange with your ex-wife, Kerry Katona, a few years back? And, most recently, your former fiancee - and our cancer-surviving sweetheart - Delta Goodrem's confessional album about your ''unhappy'' relationship, too, had you seeing red.
While I admit that your most recent tweets did get under my ultra-thin feminist skin, it wasn't just them that prompted this missive. The truth is, as a long-term employee of the Salvation Army (15 years and counting), I know too much about domestic violence to stay silent.
The point is, Brian, it's easy enough to dismiss your remark as disingenuous. But what's harder to swallow is the fact it lends weight to the unsavory notion that women who stay with such men deserve everything they get.
Stay with me here. Every year across Australia the Salvos help more than 2000 women escape domestic violence. And can you guess the average number of times a woman will try to leave? Seven.
It's not called a ''cycle of violence'' for nothing. There's the build-up, the explosion and then the remorse, which kicks off a ''pursuit phase'' where the women and children are coaxed back for a period of calm known as the ''honeymoon phase''. Counsellors say this can be the most dangerous period for a woman. Pressure builds within the perpetrator for various reasons - be it work, dark thoughts or family pressures - and the cycle begins anew.
So, as you can see, Brian, there are many reasons why women ''make excuses''. Keep in mind that some are also battling with their own demons - perhaps drug or alcohol addiction or physical or psychological disabilities. So it's not that your friend is indecisive or weak (or, should I say, it's not just because she is, and who wouldn't be under such circumstances?), it's just that she doesn't know where to turn.
The Salvos will tell you domestic violence is the single-largest cause of women and children becoming homeless. Can you imagine it, Brian? Arriving at the door of a refuge with your kids and the few clothes you managed to stuff in an overnight bag. And, all the while, sick with worry that he'll find you, or this time will make good on his threat to dismember your beloved pet, which, of course, you've had to leave behind.
Don't worry, I know you didn't mean anything by what you tweeted; after all, you're not a bad bloke.
And we understand. We really do. Even with a beautiful new wife, it can't be easy to watch your career go into free-fall. If leaving Australia's Got Talent wasn't enough, I'm sure it hurts that we just don't seem to get your wry observations on life and love. But can you really blame us? Your single Just The Way You Are (Drunk at the Bar), where you croon, ''I like you just the way you are, drunk as shit dancing at the bar, I can't wait to take you home so I can do some damage,'' left us cold, I'm afraid. And, frankly, just a little scared of you.
I know you ''felt sick'' about the furore that song caused. You vowed to donate its proceeds to a charity that supports rape victims. That was a worthy promise, as well as a bit of a relief, because it showed us whose side you're really on. But while you're contemplating things, may I kindly suggest that next time you think of writing about domestic violence or sexual assault you check your flippancy and derision at the door.
Jen Vuk is a writer and editor at the Salvation Army in Melbourne.